Your website could be costing you business, and you didn’t even know it! Like a salesman who is taking money under the table. Sacrilege. In this post, we will highlight the 5 biggest Web Design Mistakes that both small and large businesses make. We will also add some actionable techniques so that you can fix them!
So what are your Web Design Mistakes?
Just having a website is not good enough
Before we start with what you need to avoid, let’s hop in the DeLorean and travel back a few years…
In the early 2000’s when Google started to gain popularity, businesses saw the potential in having and building an online presence, more specifically, a website. With competition in the online realm being far from competitive, businesses saw a good return from just having a website. They would rank on the first page of Google without much effort. Leads flowed in. Life was good.
Until *he said, as the sky grew dark and the horses neighed* other businesses started catching on. Soon enough, everyone and their next door neighbour had a website. Suddenly the online landscape, once friendly and inviting, became cut-throat and fiercely competitive.
Today, just having a website is not good enough. You need a website that not only “attracts” more website traffic, but one that can convert visitors into sales. These are your top 5 web design mistakes you DON’T want to make.
1. Slow loading times
Website loading time is very important to both users and Search Engines. So much so that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors.
It makes complete sense – people are generally time-strapped, so the faster you can provide them with the info they need, the happier they are. And Search Engines promote websites that have faster loading times for exactly this reason – you are improving the user experience. If you want to test your website loading times, use our website auditor, It’s free.
So what can you do to decrease loading times? If you are using WordPress, install Page Speed Ninja. Just install it, and with one click you can shave seconds of your loading time.
2. Not mobile friendly
If your website is not “responsive” i.e. it does not adjust automatically to fit the device it is being viewed on, then you are losing business. No two ways about it.
Statistics show that in 2020 there will be 2.2 billion people using smartphones. And since we are throwing around statistics, here’s another one: in 2017 mobile devices were responsible for over 50.7% of all website traffic generated.
Welcome to the 21st century – this is how people browse the internet. They need a plumber, so they whip out their smartphone and Google “Plumber in Sandton”. If your website isn’t easy to browse on their phone, they will leave and try someone else.
Search Engines also prefer websites that are mobile friendly – because it improves the user’s browsing experience!
So how do you make your website responsive? Firstly head on over to www.responsivedesignchecker.com and test your website. If it not responsive, it would be best to talk to someone like LaunchWeb, who can convert your website into a lightweight, fast loading, mobile responsive website.
3. Poor design
In our article “Bad vs Good Website Design: Know the Difference” 2 of the 3 factors that we say make a good website design are Visual Design and Usability.
Visual Design is the overall aesthetic and style of the website. More than 90% of buying decisions are influenced by colour alone! If your website has a clean, professional design it leaves a great first impression on visitors and they will be more inclined to use your services.
So how do you fix poor Visual Design? Achieving a stunning Visual Design is easy, here are a few guidelines you can follow.
Usability refers to how easy it is for a visitor to use the website. Is the navigation logical and simple to use? Is the page content easy to understand? Are your contact details readily available? You might have a beautifully creative web design, but your visitors can’t find what they are looking for and so they get frustrated & leave.
Usability Design is like a horse, dangerous at both ends and tricky in the middle. What you might think users like, could actually be sending them away. (I realise now that my horse analogy makes no sense in the given context, but I needed to use it somewhere).
So how do you fix poor Usability Design?Heatmaps and Clickmaps! These tools will show you what users want, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behaviour. Using a software like Hotjar you will get valuable insight into how people are using your site. With this data you can make layout improvements to make it easier for them to find what they need.
4. No call to action
The best way of getting anyone to do something is to ask them to do it. This might sound like common sense – but we all know what they say about common sense. You would be shocked at how many business websites fail to do this one simple thing.
Whilst design & usability make for good website design, to us, a website is useless if it does not achieve objectives! Knowing what it is you want your website to do, will guide your design process in the right direction from the start.
The ultimate goal of your website is to get visitors to perform an action – purchase a product, complete an enquiry form, subscribe to a newsletter, download an eBook. Whatever the action is that you want them to perform, you have to tell them to do it.
How to add more call to actions to your site: Take a look at your site, and just ask yourself “is this page asking me to do anything?” This is done with buttons and highlight sections and clever design.
5. No Search Engine Optimisation
Here is another statistic to warm your coffee: the first page of Google receives 95% of website traffic. If your coffee still hasn’t kicked in yet, this means that if your website is not on the first page of Google, then you aren’t featuring on your customers’ radar.
Basically, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of improving a website to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words and elements on your page (on-page SEO) to the way other sites link back to your website (off-page SEO).
How do I get onto the first page of Google? Well, you can start by seeing just how bad your SEO might be – use our free website auditor to get a detailed SEO report. This report will tell you whether it’s elements on your website that need optimising, or if an off-page strategy is required. Either way, we can help you get there!
Did we miss anything?
Do you think we left anything out? Comment below with some web design mistakes you have seen both big and small company websites make.
What defines a good website design?
When it comes to good website design, there are three principles to consider; Visual Design (i.e. how pretty it looks), Usability (i.e. ease of use) and Objectives (i.e. what are the goals). This article will show you how great websites combine all three of these principles.
48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business. (source). The facts do not lie – the design of your website says a lot more about your business than you think!
It’s all about first impressions. If your website has a cluttered, messy or outdated design people will think that of your business. Our primitive brains form lasting opinions about things way before our rational mind can kick in.
The foundation of good website design lies in the visual aspect.
I have a headache just from looking at this.
Good website design leaves a lasting positive impression with visitors. Immediately it will be easier to turn that visitor into a lead or sale because they feel comfortable on your site. They haven’t been assaulted by a combination of Comic Sans & bad clipart.
Visual design mistakes that annoy visitors:
- Flash! Google and Firefox have disabled the flash plugin on their browsers due to a ‘critical’ security flaw, which means your once-awesome FlashTM website no longer works… anywhere. You can read more about that here.
- Background music! Background music should be reserved for elevators and holding whilst on the phone to Telkom. It interferes with a person’s browsing experience. Don’t do it.
- Too many colours & fonts! Your website is not a Where’s Wally book! Don’t confuse your visitors with a myriad of colours and fonts, giving them a migraine as they try to find the “Contact Us” page.
- Cluttered pages. Besides just looking bad, cluttered pages are confusing and require the visitor to put in a lot of energy to find that they are looking for. Too much of this and they will leave your website.
- Long paragraphs of text. Remember when we spoke about short attention spans? People want quick answers, they do not have time to dissect large paragraphs to find what they are looking for.
- Bad quality images. Images that are pixelated (low resolution) will make any website look cheap and amateur.
One last point: The biggest design mistake you can make is using a “free” website builder. Whilst you think it might save you money – it will actually cost you more money in the long run. Read our article: Free Website Builders are Killing Your Business
If we had a loaf of bread for every time we had to tell a business that the website they designed does not look great, we could start a successful bakery. Ok, enough about what makes a bad website – let’s talk about good website design.
Visual design principles that delight visitors:
- White Space. Use space to your advantage in a website – it will allow you break up all the information on your site into digestible chunks. Using spacing effectively can also help to place emphasis on important sections & content.
- Less is more. Try not to use 5 different fonts and colours when one or two will do. When in doubt, simplify.
- Consistent design. This is a big one and it applies to spacing, fonts, colours, everything. Ensure that you carry one design theme through out your website.
- Creative but not distracting. Its tough to reign in creativity but sometimes you have to. If you want large illustrations or decorative sections on your page, you need to balance it out with that white space we spoke of earlier.
- High-quality images. Nothing annoys a visitor more than badly formatted images with poor resolution. If you have lots of images on your site, ensure that they are the correct size so that they display well.
One thing to note is that good website design is something that changes with the times. Design trends change, and it’s up to you to stay with it. Here are 19 web design trends for 2018 – get inspired!
A nice example of a creative design with ample white space
Really simply; usability is how quickly and easily a visitor can find what they are looking for on a website. Another term for usability is “user experience” – are visitors enjoying their time on your website? Or are they getting frustrated?
You might have a beautifully creative web design, but your visitors can’t find what they are looking for. So, in the end, they just get frustrated & leave. You can see how usability & design are linked. Another example: by using the visual design principle of white space, you can improve the usability of your website by breaking up information into logical chunks.
MailChimp is an excellent example of a combination of creative design & usability
Improving usability really comes down to understanding your customer. How do they think? Are they technologically inclined? Do they understand the services you provide? Do they prefer speaking on the phone or sending an enquiry?
Knowing your customer means you can design a website that will really engage with them. Businesses fall victim to the mistake of creating a website that they like and not a website that their customers will like.
Let’s look at a few ways you can improve your website’s usability.
Improving your website Usability:
- Add a USP. A unique selling proposition is generally a one-sentence statement that explains your business & services to a visitor. It sits on your homepage, above the fold so that it’s the first thing a visitor sees. It let’s them know what you do and why they should stick around.
- Establish Information Hierarchy. This is arguably one of the most effective UX design principles. It means arranging & prioritising the content on a webpage so that it does not overwhelm visitors, but rather slowly educates and intrigues them, keeping them on the site.
- Guide visitors with colour. If your overall website colour scheme is green then consider using an orange or red to highlight buttons or important areas where you want visitors to take action. If your website looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, your visitor has no chance of knowing where they need to go next!
- Simplify Text. Keep the content on your site limited to headings sub-headings, short paragraphs of text, bullet points and lists. People want answers and fast, they aren’t going to stop and read long paragraphs. The easier to digest, the better.
- Simple navigation. Your website must be easy to navigate so visitors can find what they are looking for without wasting time. Dont add endless menu’s & sub-menus – limit menus to 1 sub-level only. If your website is really information heavy (i.e. lots of articles, pages etc.) then consider using a sidebar navigation menu. Navigation is probably the most overlooked aspect of website design. Users will abandon a website if the navigation is not intuitive.
But all of the above is worth nothing if you don’t understand who your customer is, and how they would browse a website.
Whilst design & usability make good website design, to us great website design is one that achieves objectives! Yes, I did say that you should be designing your website for your customers, but actually, you need to design it for your business objectives.
Knowing what it is you want your website to do, will guide your design process in the right direction from the start. Whenever we start a WordPress web design process with a client we follow this order:
- Objectives. What do you want the website to achieve?
- Usability. Who will be visiting this website?
- Design. What does the website need to look like, to achieve the above?
This is truly a recipe for success. Follow this process with your own website and you can’t go wrong.
Good Website Design: TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read)
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your website. A clean, professional website will promote confidence & trust in your audience. Simplicity is the name of the game – when in doubt use fewer colours and fewer fonts. Try to balance creative design with simple page layouts. Stay up to date with the latest design trends!
Understanding your customers and how they interact with websites will allow you to craft a pleasurable website experience for them. Prioritise content on your pages so that the most important features or benefits sit near the top of the page. Add intuitive navigation to pages so that visitors can easily find what they need.
And finally, determine what it is you want the website to do, and let that be your guiding light throughout the entire design process. Design with the end in mind!
Bad websites are cluttered & confusing; indicative of companies that can’t communicate efficiently with their visitors. Good websites achieve objectives through a combination of great visual & user experience design.
First impressions matter most. As the web development industry becomes increasingly competitive, here at LaunchWeb we’re constantly brainstorming ways to build websites that stand out from the rest. In these sessions, we ask ourselves how we can create designs that are memorable and unique, that at the same time engage potential clients. Whilst researching, we came across a study referenced by Derek Halpern of Social Triggers. It was titled Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites.
The goal of the study was to answer this question;
“How much impact does design have on trust and mistrust of health websites and how much impact does the quality of the content have?”
Now, we won’t bore you with the stats, but the conclusion of the study was summed up in this quote;
“The look and feel of the website was clearly important to the participants. Visual appeal, plus design issues relevant to site navigation appeared to exert a strong influence on people’s first impressions of the site. Poor interface design was particularly associated with rapid rejection and mistrust of a website. In cases where the participants did not like some aspect of the design the site was often not explored further than the homepage and was not considered suitable for revisiting at a later date…The main reason that websites were rapidly rejected was due to the design of the interface. Design issues affected first impressions and could lead to the mistrust of a website.”
So, how do you design a website that makes a striking first impression and stands out from the rest? Here are our 4 best website design tips:
1. Striking Graphics & Beautiful Imagery
“People make snap judgments. It takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person, and websites are no different”. A website that has professional images will ALWAYS make an impression. Use some professional images or even a video for your top landing page.
2. Professional Branding
Your branding says a lot about who you are as a company. Your full brand experience, from the visual elements like your logo to the way that your phones are answered, tell your customer about the kind of company that you are. When your branding is consistent and easy to recognize, it ensures potential clients feel more at ease purchasing your products or services.
3. King Content
Content is king, queen and ruler supreme. Crafting content that takes a unique stand and resonates with your audience, it helps them relate to your brand. Not only does it give a feel for your company culture, but search engines love quality content that expresses unique points of view or opinions on important subjects with lots of supporting information. Blogs are also a great way to bring in fresh content “Don’t bait the click: Nurture it.”
4. UX Design
Whilst visual design steals all the love, UX design is how it, along with the rest of your brand is experienced. User Experience Optimisation is important because it aims to provide the best possible experiences that keep users loyal to the product/brand. When a visitor arrives at your site, you have mere seconds to influence them and investing in UX optimization is necessary to quickly gain trust, brand recognition and ensure user retention.
So, there you have our top 4 website design tips.
Developing a website that stands out from the rest is really no different than developing a game-changing product. It’s all about understanding consumer psychology, which is one of the things LaunchWeb understands best. If your online presence isn’t working for you, then your audience aren’t finding you, and if they are then they don’t like what they see and it’s time to rebrand, revamp and get back out there!
Looking to redevelop your website? Then we’re the guys to talk to! Get in touch with us today and we’ll send you a custom quote in 24 hours!